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February 16 2024 Studio 16

What Is the Difference Between Highlights and Balayage and Which is Right for You?

Both balayage and highlights will have similar effects as they’re both hair-lightening treatments. But the difference between the two is all about the technique.

Not sure which is right for you when it comes to the look you’re going for? Here we break down the differences between the two to help guide your decision.

What Are Highlights?

221004-1Probably the most widely known of the two techniques, traditional foil highlights are used to bring your hair color up a shade or two. There are several techniques for highlights including, foils, frosting, and chunking.

In the highlighting process, stylists use aluminum foil to help lighten precise strands of your hair. A pick is woven through small subsections of your hair to section out these particular strands. They are then wrapped in the foil until the hair has been processed.

The final effect is a more pronounced contrast between your natural hair color and the strands you lightened.

What Is Balayage?

221004-2French for “to sweep,” balayage will also lighten your hair, but the technique is often seen as the more natural-looking of the two. Instead of lightening from root to tip with foils, balayage uses a sweeping motion to hand-paint pieces of hair on the surface. 

This freehand technique creates a look that is lighter than your base color but also creates more depth and dimension to make the lightened portions look more natural.

Which Technique Is Right for You?

The answer to that depends entirely on a few factors. 

First, if you want a more dramatic effect with your hair color, you’ll want to use highlights with foil. This technique makes the lightened hair pop more, while balayage is more subtle and creates a  more natural look. This is especially true for darker hair as foils definitely work best in taking dark hair up a few shades. 

221004-3If you’re looking for some face-framing highlights, balayage is the technique of choice. Highlights with foils go right to the root, but balayage is applied mid-shaft, giving the hair framing your face some subtle lift. Balayage is also a great choice for covering grays because your stylist can add color just to the gray strands instead of coloring all of your hair. Balayage can be better for hair with some damage because the hair doesn’t have to be completely saturated with product. You can maintain your style while your hair heals.

You will also want to take into consideration your level of commitment as the maintenance of these two techniques is also different. Highlights tend to be more “high maintenance” as they go to the roots. Therefore, it’s only a few weeks before the roots start to show. Since balayage has a more natural look, it’s also more seamless as it transitions. Because of this, you can go months without needing a touch-up.

Get Your Perfect Look at Studio 16

Still curious about which technique can take your hair color up a few notches? Our stylists at Studio 16 can help you make the right choice for your hair color, style, and length. We’ll help you find the perfect solution to help you achieve your hair color goals and fulfill your expectations. Contact us today to book a color consultation and let us know how we can help your hair be exactly what you’re looking for.

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